Missing bird of prey miraculously finds his way home after rogue West Yorkshire tour

Steph Green and Chipp the Gyr Saker Falcon. Photo by Bruce Fitzgerald.
Steph Green and Chipp the Gyr Saker Falcon. Photo by Bruce Fitzgerald.

Chipp the Gyr Saker Falcon, returned home to his owner Steph Green after going missing for six days.

Steph Green was delighted when her beloved pet Chipp, a Gyr Skaer Falcon, returned home after disappearing on adventuring on a grand ten mile tour from Northowram to Baildon in Shipley.

Chipp the Gyr Saker Falcon. Photo by Bruce Fitzgerald.

Chipp the Gyr Saker Falcon. Photo by Bruce Fitzgerald.

The day he went missing began the same as any other, with Chipp's daily fly about.

"He was having a good fly around enjoying himself but for some reason he got spooked and wouldn't come back in to the lure that I use to call him in with."

Initially Steph wasn't too nervous as Chipp was wearing a GPS tracking device.

"I left him out over night and went back to get him in the morning but he was still a bit nervous and wasn't looking to come back to me.

Steph Green and Chipp the Gyr Saker Falcon. Photo by Bruce Fitzgerald.

Steph Green and Chipp the Gyr Saker Falcon. Photo by Bruce Fitzgerald.

"After 3 hours trying to get him back, I went to work as I was confident the GPS would pinpoint me to his location when I had finished. "

The 31-year-old currently works at Pets at Home, and previously worked in Dubai as a falconer for six years.

When she finished her shift, Chipp had wondered off and Steph tracked the GPS to a house. Unfortunately the GPS had fallen off and had been found by the people at the house.

"At this point I was gutted. My bird could literally have been anywhere, and with only bells on his legs it would be almost impossible to locate him.

"He is registered with the independent bird register, and has ID rings on both legs too, so if someone had found him all the details are on those rings to get in touch with me."

Steph spent the next six days waking up early to go looking for him, growing increasingly nervous as Chipp is a hand reared bird and had never hunted in his life.

Steph adopted Chipp, now eight months old, when he was seven weeks old in June 2019.

"I didn't sleep well and spent most of my time outside hoping he would appear. He relies upon me to feed him on a daily basis."

Steph called out to social media, asking if anyone had seen the bird. She was called out to several bird of prey sightings, which turned out to be wild buzzards and kestrels. After a series of false alarms, Steph began to worry that he had been caught by a fox or taken by someone.

"I decided to hang up the lure and only go out if a picture of him was sent to me. But that night I checked my inbox and I had been sent numerous messages with a photo of Chipp."

Chipp had flown all the way to Baildon, Shipley and perched himself on a windowsill.

"The lady that messaged me had been in that particular room when she heard tapping at the window and bells jingling. She looked up to see my boy peering inside."

Steph drove over immediately, but it was already dark so she couldn't see or hear him and went home after searching for two hours. The following morning she returned to the area, hoping that Chipp was still nearby.

"A lot of the Baildon community were also out looking for him and wished me luck as we crossed paths.

"After about an hour of walking around, I went down the street he'd been last seen on the night before, I'd already walked it five or so times already that morning.

"I passed a tree when suddenly I heard his bells ringing. I turned around and saw him sat halfway up the tree. I started to call him and after a few minutes he flew out of the tree, had a little fly around before finally coming back into the lure."

Steph is overjoyed to be reunited with her feathered friend and is grateful for the help she received on Facebook.

"Without social media, I honestly don't think I'd have got him back. He had not hunted or eaten in the six days he was out, so time really was of the essence. I'd shared the post all over the local groups and luckily I got a good ending from it!"